Central Vision Loss

The following article addresses various aspects of central vision loss with an overall look at the causes, signs, effects, and available interventions for people living with reduced central vision.

Central Vision Loss in Olympia

How Does Low Vision Affect Central Vision?

One of the more common forms of visual impairment affects central vision, which is responsible for detecting shapes and fine details.A loss or diminishment of central vision creates reliance on one's peripheral vision, which lacks the ability to discern detail, but is essential for mobility. As a result of this visual deficiency, everyday activities and daily living become difficult. 

In the earliest onset of this form of visual impairment, the central part of people’s vision may appear blurry or appear to be missing details. This makes activities such as reading or using a computer or cell phone difficult or impossible without help. As the condition worsens, these deficits will appear as blank or blind spots. For example, this may manifest as an inability to see a friend’s face up close as a result of this impairment, while retaining the ability to see the rest of the person

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Causes of Central Vision Loss

There are various causes of central vision loss involving degenerative eye disorders, however, the primary cause is usually as a result of damage to the macula section of the retina, which is responsible for our ability to discern detail.

  • Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): This is a primary cause of central vision loss that occurs as people age, where macular erosion leads to visual deficits in either one or both eyes. 
  • Inoperable cataracts: Central vision loss from inoperable cataracts require low vision interventions, unlike other types of cataracts that can be corrected surgically.
  • Glaucoma: An ocular condition that can lead to blindness, caused by the pressure of fluid build-up. 
  • Diabetic retinopathy: A degenerative eye disorder caused by diabetes that affects the retina.



Additional factors affecting the macula that can cause central vision loss include the following conditions. A healthy macula is flat so distortions in shape or contour such as wrinkling, erosion, or swelling may cause central vision loss.

  • Macular pucker: A form of wrinkling of the macula.
  • Macular hole: An erosional hole or tear in the macula.
  • Macular edema: In this form of macular degeneration, swelling from leakage of blood vessels causes central vision loss. 

It is important to note that it is equally important to attend to these conditions before they degenerate and affect other aspects of vision and overall health. In the case of diabetic retinopathy and other diabetic conditions, attending to those conditions will benefit overall health.

Signs of Central Vision Loss

Signs of Central Vision Loss

As with many ocular conditions, the signs are not always apparent. Early detection is critical so that treatments and interventions can slow its progression. Always speak with an optometrist to determine how frequently you should schedule eye exams. Depending on your health and family history, you may require more routine exams. Possible signs of vision loss should be attended to right away. Contact our low vision optometrist if you have reason to believe that you are experiencing central vision loss.
Warning signs include:

  • Difficulty in discerning details or faces
  • Difficulty with shapes
  • Blurred vision
  • A blind spot or blank spots
  • Medical conditions or medications that are know to cause central vision loss
Signs of Central Vision Loss

Testing and Treatment

A low vision optometrist is trained to assess ocular health for signs of central vision loss. A popular test low vision optometrists use to assess for central vision loss is the Amsler Grid exam where straight lines appear wavy to those with central vision loss.

Although low vision is irreversible, vision aids and rehabilitation can help maximize remaining vision and improve the overall quality of life. Central vision loss is often treated with optical and non-optical devices, prisms, medication, assistive technologies, and vision rehabilitation.


Caring for Central Vision Loss

Early detection, diagnosis, and treatment are essential for preventing the condition that causes central vision loss from advancing. Ocular complications are difficult to detect so routine examinations are required to monitor overall eye health. Central vision is responsible for detecting shapes and fine details. As a result of this deficiency, daily living becomes difficult. People with central vision loss will have difficulty reading, using the computer or phone, and discerning faces. If you suspect that you or someone you know has central vision loss, contact our low vision optometrist to schedule an examination.

Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Central Vision Loss

The following article addresses various aspects of central vision loss with an overall look at the causes, signs, effects, and available interventions for people living with reduced central vision. Patients with low vision visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of low vision services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.

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Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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